Today’s ODT editorial A dose of realism approves the Supreme Court decision on asset sales:
The much-anticipated decision by the Supreme Court regarding the sale of shares in state-owned Mighty River Power went the way most people anticipated.
The court unanimously ruled the Government can proceed to sell up to 49% of shares in the electricity generator in the second quarter of this year, in line with legislation passed by Parliament last year.
As was hoped and expected, the court addressed the complex issue of Maori claims to the waterways feeding the state-owned energy generators.
Without diminishing Maori claims to the water, the court concluded those claims would not be damaged by a change in the ownership of assets that generate electricity.
The court noted there are already two substantial power-generating companies in private ownership, Contact Energy and TrustPower.
They support National’s mandate and slam Labour and Green opposition:
The decision by the court provided a dose of realism for the Labour and Green parties in Parliament. Labour leader David Shearer said National must listen to the people on asset sales, claiming 80% of New Zealanders are against them.
Green co-leader Russel Norman said the court’s decision that asset sales will not materially impair water claims under the Treaty of Waitangi does not change the fact asset sales are economically reckless and are opposed by the vast majority of New Zealand.
Both Labour and Green MPs claim the Government has no ”moral right” to sell the assets before Kiwis have their say in a referendum. But, there has already been a referendum, called the 2011 general election. Mr Key campaigned strongly on the partial sale of the assets.
There was no secret agenda. He went to the polls on that issue – a make or break policy decision – for the very reason that people would know what they were voting for. Well, they did. National received overwhelming support to form the government and Labour suffered one of its worst electoral defeats. A referendum has been held.
The decision was made and it is now time to move past the time and money-wasting tactics which have been employed in the past year.